What do you know? What do you want to know? What did you learn?

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K-W-L in literacy

K-W-L stands for:

  • What do you know?

  • What do you want to know?

  • What did you learn?

This strategy serves as a pre- and post-reading strategy for activating prior knowledge and having students critically consider their familiarity with the concepts to be addressed.  After reading, it expects students to assess their new learning based on the reading materials.  

K-W-L in music

K-W-L can be easily used in music as a preparation for preparing students to perform new pieces.  After giving students the piece or a brief description (e.g. “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” is originally an African American spiritual), students can share what they already know (e.g. “It looks like there is a lot of repetition in this piece.  Maybe it is in strophic form”) and pose questions (e.g. “Is this piece a coded piece too like Wade in the Water?”).  After working through the piece, students then return to the K-W-L to recognize what they now know (e.g. “African American spirituals use call and response form”).  The students are able to apply their previous learning from other musical pieces and experiences and reflect on their experiences and how it might impact later musical activities.

Additional resources

National Education Association